Bulls and Bears: Good News, Bad News

Ticker symbol Company Price as of 1/24/03 52-week high 52-week low % price change last month Revenue per share T4Q % total debt/total capital
DIRECT TO CONSUMER
FLWS 1-800-Flowers.com $6.68 $14.68 $4.75 (39.9%) $542 11.3%
BL Blair Corp. 23.11 26.80 16.50 (7.6) 561 6.2
CWTR Coldwater Creek 14.81 25.57 11.95 20.3 475 0
HNV Hanover Direct 0.27 0.53 0.16 (9.5) 466 43.9
JILL J. Jill Group 12.90 27.50 11.90 (39.9) 332 13.5
LVC Lillian Vernon Corp. 4.32 8.25 3.65 (7.9) 247 0
MBAY MediaBay 1.03 6.04 0.77 31.8 46 63.2
SPGLA Spiegel 0.35 3.72 0.20 (37.5) 3,297 52.5
DIRECT TO BUSINESS
BBOX Black Box Corp. $42.20 $55.7 $28.02 (10.3%) $631 13.9%
CDWC CDW Computer Centers 45.90 60.00 40.25 (14.0) 4,265 0
HSIC Henry Schein 40.41 57.73 39.00 5.7 2,776 28.1
MSM MSC Industrial Direct 18.30 24.36 9.30 0.1 816 0.3
NEB New England Business Service 23.75 29.31 19.10 9.7 553 52.4
PCCC PC Connection 5.55 14.90 3.72 (27.5) 1,143 5.1
MALL PC Mall 3.80 5.10 1.76 (8.0) 802 4.1
PFP Premier Farnell 6.09 10.10 4.25 (17.5) 1,065 74.9
SCHS School Specialty 19.79 29.94 18.45 1.5 853 52.1
SSPY Sport Supply Group 1.95 2,00 0.96 3.3 100 31.6
TESS Tessco Technologies 9.40 18.34 7.49 (15.9) 267 20.8
ZONS Zones 0.92 1.92 0.70 (14.0) 327 5.2
Source: Financial Advisory Partners and company filings

Did 2003 start off well for publicly traded catalogers? That depends. “Our two sectors took different paths in January,” says Ken Packer, of Waukee, IA-based Financial Advisory Partners. “Direct-to-consumer stocks underperformed the broad S&P 500 market average, and direct-to-business stocks outperformed the S&P 500.”

The discrepancy, Packer says, results from the differing reactions of consumers and businesses to the recession. “The market recognizes that consumers tend to reduce discretionary spending during recessions, while businesses tend to look for more-efficient vendors, leading to share gains for direct-to-business marketers,” he explains. Overall, b-to-b catalogers have been more profitable than their consumer counterparts during the year, a trend that Packer expects to continue through 2003.

Among the eight public consumer marketers tracked for Catalog Age by Financial Advisory Partners, all but two — women’s apparel cataloger/retailer Coldwater Creek and audiotape mailer MediaBay — saw share prices fall in January. Coldwater Creek and MediaBay were, in fact, the biggest gainers of all 20 companies tracked.

Of the 12 b-to-b catalogers tracked, seven suffered a drop in share price. New England Business Service (NEBS) enjoyed the greatest gains among the b-to-bers.

Multibrand gifts marketer 1-800-Flowers.com and women’s apparel cataloger/retailer J. Jill Group shared the dubious distinction of having seen their stocks lose the most value: nearly 40%.

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